Real life bike and gear tests
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BBB Torquefix BTL-52 Torque Wrench
Ribble â€“ Â£55 (or Â£47 if you spend over Â£50)
Cecil Walker has them listed at $140 currently if you prefer an Australian supplier
How it is used
I didnâ€™t have one and I didnâ€™t want to destroy my new bike through ham-fistedness. Can be used on seat post collar, stem bolts for carbon steerers, carbon stem bolts, carbon stem cap and plug, brake bolts, and crank bolts. Pretty much any bolt on a bike requiring a specific torque (2-24Nm is plenty of range). To date I have used it on stem bolts, seat post collar and brake bolts. No more slipping seat post, bars are now straight, and the brakes are not over-rotated.
2-24Nm torque wrench
Comes in a plastic case with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm allen key heads and T25 torx head
Screw-adjustable handle with single Nm increment marked dial
+ Will fit any Â¼â€ drive socket - a fairly common size for the tools used for bicycles
+ Dial is clearly marked for 1Nm increments
+ Dial is reasonably smooth and slow to adjust â€“ I say this as a positive, because it means you wont accidentally turn the handle from 4Nm to 10Nm and start stripping bolts or crushing tubes all of a sudden
+ Works in both directions (clockwise and anti-clockwise)
- You can over tighten with this unit if you miss the click - would be better with a free ratcheting indication
- Dial could be marked in a little more detail, or alternatively be a click-type dial that locks to a figure - half Nm figures need to be interpolated
When the tool reaches the required torque, the handle flicks across approx. 3-5mm. Unlike some others, it will then keep tightening if you pull on it. It does not free the ratchet mechanism like higher end tools will. You have to get used to what it feels like, so practice on something unimportant (eg: donâ€™t practice on your Ridley Noah seat post bolt).
BBB include a calibration certificate with each tool with a QC/serial number on it. The tool is calibrated to +/- 4% of actual reading. Youâ€™d probably get more slop than 4% in the dial rather than the tool. 0.5Nm markings would be nice. Most of the lower torque bolts are 4, 5 or 6Nm, so halves not a big issue.
Donâ€™t even think about putting it your jersey pocket for a ride, cause these things are heavy!
If you absolutely need one and cant afford big cash, this is a good buy for things like adjusting your seat, changing stems or adjusting bars yourself at home. I donâ€™t know how this compares to other similar priced models (Nashbar or PBK house brand items among others).
You get what you pay for.
If youâ€™re building multiple bikes from scratch, working on very torque specific parts with little margin for error, or looking for a high quality shop standard tool, spend more money.
Well made, complete kit, though seems to lack finesse in terms of operation (click type vs. free mechanism). It is a sub-$140 (a little less offshore) tool, after all.
Need to tighten something to, say, 5Nm? Got ya covered. 5.5Nm might involve a little guessing.
Value for money
Its all price vs. performance at this level. Don't try to spend less.
MY RIDES: My Velospace Profile
I bought the same unit for doing the seatpost, stem, and bars.
For me, this is perfect. I wanted something to help me take the bike apart to box up then put back together again. This is as much as I plan to ever do (I'm not keen to do all that mechanicky stuff) and the tool does the job.
Totally agree with your comments and rating 100%, Jim.
+1. I've got the same unit and have had it for about 3months. I've used other 1/4 bits on it such as a T30 and it worked fine. Highly recommend
Current Ride: Trek Madone 6.5 (2013)
+2. I'll jump in on the bandwagon too
I've had this tool for almost a year and have only needed it so far for stem adjustment on my Corsa which carbon steerer. Works well for the price (approx $120 from Cranks, North Sydney).
Salsa Casseroll, Avanti Quantum, Specialized Tricross, Cell SS
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